I held a child once, in my womb, a very long time ago and for a time shorter than memory. But when you look at me with accusation in your eyes, and contempt staining your teeth, I remember how it felt, and I can tell you. I can tell you what that feels like, that life the size of a bean counting on you to protect it, to grow it. So don’t look at me and tell me, one woman to another, that I don’t know. And don’t take the memory of this child that was and wasn’t, with its cornflower eyes and spun hair, and tell me I can’t feel love.
I felt love, for a little while.
I also know what it feels like to murder. To bleed. To blacken and die. I am still here. To remember, recall, reminisce. To indulge fantasies of what might have been, had I been better equipped, less hostile, more open. It could have been different. Don’t tell me about regret, for here I can teach you. It rises like bile in my throat and threatens to suffocate, and recedes with a bitterness that never quite leaves.
This one, this small one I see on a street corner on an autumn day as blue and golden as he, stops me for a second, gives me pause, breaks my heart and heals it in the breadth of a single solitary moment. In this moment I see lost futures and hallucinations of the past. That part that left me, maybe it looked like this.
The child smiles at me. And I know love. Almost.